November 30, 2004 05:00am
FSC Dismayed at Senate Porn Hearing Bad Science
Source: Free Speech Coalition (FSC)
by: Company Press Release
(CHATSWORTH, CA) -- The Free Speech Coalition, the trade association of the adult entertainment industry, announced today that it is dismayed by the unfair tactics employed by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation in holding its hearing on "The Science Behind Pornography Addiction" on Nov. 18.
"No one in the adult video or Internet industries, nor any member of the Free Speech Coalition, was given any prior notice that the hearing would take place," said Jeffrey Douglas, Chair of the Coalition's Board of Directors. "Had the Committee done so, we could have directed them to researchers with much better credentials and much more credible data than the four witnesses the Committee apparently solicited to come before it."
Douglas noted that the secretive nature of the proceedings suggested that at least some Committee members had preconceived notions of the evidence they wished to hear, and invited witnesses who would provide exactly what they wanted.
"I think that her statement about imprinting is a misinterpretation of data," said University of Southern California researcher Dr. Vern Bullough, of Dr. Judith Reisman's claim that sexual imagery overrides cognitive processes. "If she's going to say that, then everything a child sees, including his mother's breast as he's nursing, is going to be forever imprinted upon his mind and his eyes, and I think that she is pushing data which doesn't exist."
"[Committee witness Dr. James] Weaver... Has been a long-time researcher in this area," noted Dr. Daniel Linz, Professor of Communication and Law & Society at the University of California, and co-author of the Question of Pornography. "We have tangled over the years in our interpretation of what he's found. He would like to attribute exposure to pornography to a number of ill effects that I don't think are actually sustainable, even given his own data."
"I've done a great deal of research that shows that everywhere porn laws have been liberalized, the incidence of sex crimes decreases," stated Dr. Milton Diamond, Professor of Anatomy and Reproductive Biology at the University of Hawaii's School of Medicine, and Director of the Pacific Center for Sex and Society. "This has been found in studies in Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Japan, Poland, Finland and also the U.S.A. Basically, the incidence of rape and other sex crimes have been decreasing over the years as the amount of porn increases."
With such a wealth of available data contradicting the Committee's witnesses, the Coalition cannot help but suspect an ulterior motive behind the Committee's choice of invitees.
"We in the adult industry fear that we may be seeing the beginnings of another 'Meese Commission' scenario, complete with its partisan anti-adult agendas, and testimony invited to support those agendas," Douglas warned. "Moreover, at least one non-partisan witness, Dr. Edward Donnerstein, charged that the Meese Commission had completely misinterpreted his research and testimony in its Final Report - a report which was used as the basis for several unconstitutional pieces of legislation. The Report also inspired a string of indictments of adult mail-order companies until the government was stopped by a federal appeals court, which ruled the simultaneous, multi-jurisdiction prosecutions illegal."
The Free Speech Coalition stands ready to work with Congress and the Bush administration to address their concerns regarding the best ways to keep constitutionally-protected adult material out of the hands of minors and away from those who choose not to view it. But bad data from unreliable researchers is not the way to accomplish these ends.
Free Speech Coalition
Michelle Freridge, Exec. Dir.: 818-348-9373
Jeffrey J. Douglas, Esq.: 310-576-3411
Mark Kernes (FSC Public Relations) 818-718-5788 ext. 150